I haven’t been to yoga since the full force of the fall term workload hit me smash in the face. But now I have beaten back the e-mails somewhat, and so find myself sitting on the floor of the gym, my back against the wall, my legs stretched out in front of me, waiting for the yoga teacher to arrive… I am dressed in white baggy cotton capris and a red cotton top. It feels nice to be in summery clothes again. I glance at my legs.. and stifle a gasp of horror… my legs are all hairy, with bristly stubble sprouting out in full unshaven glory.
Yes. With summer over, the only body parts which receive any attention are the the visible bits: face, hair and hands. Honestly, it just seems a waste of time to tend to the parts which are wrapped up in layers of warm cloth- I mean, who cares?
But now, I feel the skin on my legs prickling with shame at their hairy glory. I take a peek at the outstretched legs of my neighbours. On the left, the legs are sensibly covered with long grey trouser legs. Ha- I bet your legs are as hairy as a bear as well, otherwise why wear long trousers at the gym? On the right, smooth white freshly-shaven skin glimmers in the dark twilight of the energy-conscious gym.
I glance further down the line. Joy! A pair of legs even hairier than mine- only… those hairs are different- they are long and proud, they know they belong on those thick legs, they are not embarrassed and short like my poor sun-starved leg-hairs.
A man. Of course. The only man in the yoga class, stretching his hairy legs with nary a thought of how horrible the hairs look. And of course, they don’t look horrible- on him. They just look ordinary. But mine, oh, I tuck my legs beneath me, oh they look awful. The teacher arrives and I untuck my legs. And I spend the rest of class twisting and turning and pulling my stomach in and extending my spine and letting the light flow into my being and…thinking about how horrible my legs look.